Meaty Fish

Pacific Blue Marlin
Bluefin Tuna
Bigeye Tuna
Shortbill Spearfish
Skipjack Tuna
Striped Marlin
Yellowfin Tuna
Pacific Blue Marlin

This grouping includes tuna, swordfish and marlin. They are most commonly marketed in restaurants in steak form. The flesh of these fish varies in color from dark red to light. They are suitable for broiling as steaks or kebabs; barbecued; steamed; braised with vegetables, or cut raw and used in sashimi and sushi.

Tuna is found in warm seas around the world and six species of varying size are marketed in the U.S. Varieties of tuna include bluefin, skipjack, bonito, albacore, big-eye and yellow-fin. Albacore, often called the chicken of the sea, is the only white-fleshed tuna and the preferred variety for canning. Big-eye tuna also has a lighter meat and is the preferred tuna of the Japanese. In the United States, yellow- fin (Hawaiian Ahi) is considered the finest and most versatile for eating.

Like other oily fish, tuna should be eaten as fresh as possible. The quality of the meat of the tuna can vary widely from tuna to tuna and even within the fish itself due to its large size. Handling of the tuna at sea is very important to the resulting quality of the meat. Excessive struggling during capture causes the body temperature to rise and "burn the meat." This affects the appearance, texture and flavor of the flesh. The various parts of the tuna may be prized in certain regions for particular uses. For example, the belly (the part containing the greatest amount of oil) of the bluefin is prized by the Japanese for a type of sashimi called Toro.

Named for its long sword-like nose, the swordfish is found throughout the world. There are, however, variations in the size of the fish due to the condition of its habitat. This popular fish is often cut into steaks and broiled. However, it is subject to naturally high levels of mercury (a toxic substance) and is monitored in several countries, such as Italy, Japan and the United States. The swordfish is also susceptible to a parasitic worm, which is harmless when cooked, but results in meat which is unattractive.

Marlin, also called spearfish, has a short spike nose. It is similar in appearance to swordfish, although plumper and more muscular. There are four species of marlin, of which the white and blue are native to the Atlantic. The striped and black marlin are particularly valued by the Japanese and are native to the Pacific.

More rare than the marlin is the sailfish which is named for its high dorsal fin. It is not as good as the marlin for eating but can be smoked with great success.

The meaty fish are sometimes compared in flavor and texture to veal, however they may have a very strong taste. This is especially true of the dark-fleshed varieties. This strong flavor can be reduced by soaking in salted water or marinating prior to cooking.

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